Coloring in the details of mental illness

Local News

“The Sun Will Come Back” isn’t a coloring book focused on filling in the lines.

Emily Knerr’s primary mission with the pages is to provide hope.

Author and Illustrator of “The Sun Will Come Back” Emily Knerr “I’m Emily Knerr. Inside this coloring book, you’ll find my love and support through uplifting mantras, coping skills, poems and recognition that depression can be an ugly stinky mess.”

Flipping through its pages, there is a pride for Emily of what she’s created.

Knerr said, “Cool to look through this sometimes. I’m still just like dang, I did this.”

Emily uses this canvas to expresses herself.

Knerr said, “My style of just drawing and illustrating had doodling as like it’s just letting your mind wonder.”

Through her smiles and cheer experienced with here kitten Mykonos.

It’s hard to see that her life has been filled with different shades of blue.

Knerr said, “Even people that try to make happy things to make other people feel better still struggle.”

The Muscatine native has struggled with mental illness since high school including stays at treatment facilities.

She is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety.

That’s the story Emily shares in The Sun Will Come Back.

Knerr said, “And basically it was kind of just a journal for me.”

Emily admits the past few years, she’s had multiple stays in psychiatric units.

Knerr said, “Quite a few stays, I don’t even know how many anymore.”

The Muscatine native decided she didn’t want to stay silent about her struggles.

Knerr said, “When I was hospitalized, at first I didn’t want anybody to know. I went silent about it on Twitter and Facebook where usually I’m all over the place.”

After one of the stays, she decided to use her passion for art to share her story.

Knerr said, “‘I’m sad,’ you know and you say it with a smile because it feels better that you say it.”

Coloring books at the treatment facilities aren’t uncommon but for Emily, she said they didn’t have much of a purpose for her.

Getting support from her family, they encouraged her to follow to share what she can experience on a daily basis.

It details how depression makes it hard to do simple everyday things like brushing hair and getting ready. There are the days that have triumphs and others where it’s rock bottom. Pages also show the importance of support systems like friends and family.

Knerr said, “Emily’s ten coping skills. So we got singing, stretch, let yourself cry, meditate.”

Since releasing it this past spring, her mission for it to provide hope for others and open a dialogue about mental health.

“Keep it all to themselves. That’s how you end up with people committing suicide is because they don’t talk openly about it because it’s seen as a hush-hush topic still. It’s taboo,” said Knerr.

She told Local 4 News she’s heard from people with mental illnesses about how this is helping them.

Knerr said, “I just set out to make something that’s relatable for people that can feel really lonely in this world.”

That’s the response she said she’s overwhelmed to receive.

Knerr said, “Showed it to like my mom. Like my mom struggles with her depression as well.”

It’s also giving Emily a way to create healing for herself.

Knerr “This is my way to check in on everybody. It’s like guys, ‘The Sun Will Come Back.’ Like I promise.”

It can be found for sale on Amazon.

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